If you are thinking about starting a kitchen spring cleaning project you might feel a little overwhelmed. Or, you might feel a lot overwhelmed! But don’t worry because that’s normal! Doing a deep clean of your kitchen, especially of your refrigerator and freezer, can be daunting. We just did a heavy cleaning and I know it’s a big job.
I’m hoping some of these tips can help.
7 Kitchen Spring Cleaning Tips
1. Get started.
There is a reason why people say that the hardest part of running a marathon is putting on your shoes. Just getting started, committing to the task, can feel like a giant hurdle. Go ahead and take a deep breath, allow yourself some grace, pull out your patience and just get started. Every journey starts with one step.
2. Be prepared.
There are certain tools you will definitely need to have on hand for your kitchen spring cleaning. Don’t get bogged down in labels or trying to find the best product to do each job. My best advice is to get a multipurpose cleaner, paper towels or cleaning rags and several no-leak garbage bags. Baking soda can also be used as a cleaner and deodorizer if you prefer to not use chemicals. (It may just take a bit more elbow grease to get everything cleaned well.) Also, be prepared psychologically that this task might get gross.
3. Take everything out. Yes, everything.
If you are committing to a kitchen spring cleaning, then commit! Go all the way! Take everything out of the refrigerator and freezer, throwing out old or expired food as you go. If you aren’t going to eat it, throw it away. Don’t let it steal space in your crowded fridge or freezer! I know this can be an arduous and unpleasant task, but it must be done. You will be able to clean the shelves and drawers only when all the food is gone.
4. Check the dates.
Expiration dates are there for a reason. Focus on checking condiments, salad dressings, dairy products and meat. If you can’t find an expiration date, toss it. Also toss it if you can’t remember when you bought it or cooked it. And if it doesn’t look good, like greyish meat or freezer burned vegetables, throw it away.
5. Clean the shelves.
Once all the food is removed you can use the cleaning spray to make the shelves and drawers shine. Pulling out any removable pieces and washing them in the sink may make the job easier. Spilled food and drink can cause smells as well as make your refrigerator and freezer look unhealthy. Don’t neglect the doors and compartments either. You committed to the whole task, remember?
6. Declutter outside of the refrigerator and freezer.
The outside of the refrigerator and freezer needs to be cleaned as well. Take off all those magnets, progress reports and Christmas cards from two years ago. Let go of anything you don’t need in that questionable collection. Wipe down the front of the appliances and be sure to dust and clean the top of it too. If you’re on the shorter side, use a step stool to help you see the cobwebs up there. Because they are there.
7. Put everything back neatly.
When everything on the inside of the refrigerator and freezer is sparkling, put the food back in an organized fashion. Be thoughtful about where things go. Try to group like products together so they will be easier to find. If you have back stock of items, consider using the pantry or a cabinet to store those items to save room in the refrigerator. Also think about which items can move to the freezer to last longer.
4 Common Questions that May Arise During the Kitchen Spring Cleaning
Inevitably, this exercise will bring up some questions. For us, we had to google several things to find out how long they last before needing to be tossed. Here’s a few answers to help provide you some shortcuts.
How long do jars of pickles actually keep?
Pickles last a really long time if they have been properly stored and sealed. Some people have suggested they are still edible 1-2 years after the expiration date. However, it is always safer to toss any food that has an expiration date which has passed. Once a jar has been opened, the pickles will last about three months before they start tasting different. Keep opened pickle jars in the refrigerator.
If it is past the “sell-by” date should it get tossed or is it still good?
While there are people (Jon) who swear by the sell by date being a mere suggestion, it is always best to err on the side of caution. Whether it is a “sell by” date, “expiration date” or “best by” date, it is safer to not consume products for which these dates have passed. The question is not “can you eat expired food” but rather, “should you eat expired food”. If you have other alternatives, the answer is no.
If frozen beef has started turning grey inside the packaging, is it still usable?
The color of frozen ground beef or turkey may turn grey in the middle from the lack of oxygen. It is still perfectly fine to still eat it once it has been cooked.. However, if the outside of the meat is turning grey, don’t eat it. This is a sign the meat is beginning to rot. If you do eat it, you will notice the taste and texture is off. More on this subject here.
What kinds of products can be used to clean out your refrigerator and freezer?
There are many detergents, soaps, and cleaners that would work for this task. Simply using warm soapy water works well. You can also add 1 tablespoon of All Purpose Bleach to one gallon of water to help sanitize and deodorize the space.
Enjoy The Payoff of Your Kitchen Spring Cleaning Project. Cook Something!
When you are performing a kitchen spring cleaning, know your hard work will pay off. Having a clean refrigerator and freezer will enable you to find things faster and be more apt to cook meals at home. This task can eliminate smells and give your kitchen the sparkle it deserves!
If you are searching for something delicious to make, try one of the following recipes which can be made simply with items you most likely already have: